Burgundy (part 11: more wine, plus cheese)

Tuesday

One of the few events Virginia pre-arranged was a 10am tour and tasting at Maison Champy in Beaune. So we roused ourselves early and drove up to town.

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Equipment from Maison Champy’s history.

When we got there, we were greeted by Sylvain, our guide, with whom Virginia had been coordinating our visit. Sylvain was delightfully engaging! He warned us at the beginning that there was little in the way of showpieces because it was very much a working winery. However, we got to see a wine vat that had been converted into a dining room and equipment in the attic from over one hundred years ago. We also visited the cellars, which was reinforced with engineering by Gustave Eiffel (you might have heard of his tower) and wines from the 19th century.

We entered the tasting room from the cellar. Virginia arranged for cheese and charcuterie to be included with the tasting, which made it more enjoyable and brought out different things with each wine. Speaking of which, we tasted seven (three white, four red, closing with a 2011 Vosne-Romanée “Les Suchots”, my new favorite Pinot Noir plot). We ended up shipping a lot of wine home, including some for Virginia’s father.

Because our visit went long with all the tasting and buying, Sylvain made us a reservation for the five of us for lunch at Caveau des Arches, a nearby restaurant. Frankly, Virginia and I weren’t all that hungry after all the munching at Champy, so we shared escargot and creme brûlée with coffee. Catherine, Andrew, and Gigi went to visit the Fallot mustard factory and return to the carousel while we went home to roast a pork loin for dinner.

Wednesday

After the full day on Tuesday, we started much more slowly. I made omelettes for Catherine, Virginia, and me while Andrew scrambled eggs for Gigi and him. After breakfast, we split up so Catherine and Andrew could reward Gigi for being a trooper through three wine tours/tastings. They went to an outdoor adventure park with obstacle courses and had a great time.

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Château Corton C.

In the meantime, we stuck around the house for lunch (cheese and charcuterie as usual — we always had plenty in the house) before using the afternoon to visit three wineries. The first was Château Corton C (formerly Pierre Andre), where we marveled at the roof tiles and enjoyed a selection of wines from village to grand cru. We liked it, but I have to admit it felt a little corporate, especially in contrast to the other two.

Speaking of which, the other two were both repeats from our day of wine tasting the first week: Domaine D’Ardhuy and Domaine Michel Nöellat. We decided we would get more wine from these two and build stronger relationships with these family-run, multi-generation wineries. Both Fanny at D’Ardhuy and Alain and Isabel Nöellat remembered us and were exceedingly nice.

After returning with our goodies, we put everything away and walked down to Caveau de Puligny-Montrachet for a glass of wine. We all reconvened at the house and I made fried chicken (the deep fryer again!) and green beans while Virginia and Gigi made scratch biscuits. We all sat down to a classic American meal in our French house. We decided to end the night early to get up for the next day.

Thursday

First stop after breakfast and coffee: the Fromagerie Gaugry in Borchon. The building isn’t much to look at (it is a cheese factory, after all), but it was fascinating to learn about the process of their signature cheeses. They also built a small classic-looking café in the building, where we tasted five cheeses with bread and red wine (perfect elevenses). My favorite was the L’Ami de Chambertin while Virginia favored the Epoisses.

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The Place Darcy in Dijon.

Afterward, we drove the few remaining kilometers up to Dijon and parked in the same place as we had the previous week. We had lunch at La Maison Milliere, a historic café in the center of town, and then walked around following some of the Owl’s Trail before returning to Place François Rude so Gigi could go on the Eiffel carousel while the adults enjoyed some shade and a beverage.

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The Eiffel carousel. (picture from Out and About with Mary Kay)

After all that, we kept it simple and quiet for the evening. After returning to Puligny-Montrachet, we walked over to L’Estimanet des Meix for dinner. Everyone except me had steak frites (somewhat unusual to the region, but enjoyed by all) while I had a surprisingly good chicken breast and potatoes in chorizo sauce. We all had ice cream for dessert and went home full.

 

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